Bryce Young was the first Heisman winner to return to school since 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, and the 2021 winner turned in a fantastic junior season en route to a sixth-place finish in the 2022 Heisman voting.
He capped his Alabama career by leading the Crimson Tide to a 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31, earning game MVP honors thanks to five touchdown passes that tied the school’s post-season game record.
Young finished the 2022 season completing 245-of-380 passes for 3,328 yards and 32 touchdowns — missing one game due to injury and much of another — while he rushed for another four scores, earning second team All-America honors by Pro Football Focus and USA Today.
He became the only quarterback in Alabama history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in two seasons following his 4,872-yard, 47-TD Heisman-winning campaign in 2021 and was named a 2022 finalist for the Manning Award and a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards as well as for the Davey O’Brien Award.
Young leaves Alabama second in program history for career passing yards (8,356) and touchdown passes (80) and finished 24-3 as a starter, including a 2021 SEC title and an appearance in the 2021 CFP final. His five games with five TD passes is also an Alabama record.
His 2022 numbers stack up favorably to other Heisman winners who returned for another season, including the most recent example in Jackson, who threw for 3,660 yards and 37 scores in 2017 for Louisville en route to a third-place Heisman finish.
The 2023 NFL Draft is more than three months away, but mock drafts are springing up aplenty, many with Young at the top. This recent one by Pro Football Focus foresees the Indianapolis Colts trading with Chicago for the No. 1 pick and taking the 2021 Heisman winner first. This CBSSports mock draft predicts the same.
If Young were to go first overall, he would be the fourth Heisman first drafted first among the last five draft-eligible winners and the sixth in a row taken in the first round.
In fact, 2015 winner Derrick Henry is the only Heisman winner not taken in the first round since 2007, something countless NFL general managers still rue, no doubt.